Bizarre Pool Accident Injures Student, Teacher
JEFFERSON - Word spread quickly about disaster in the Jefferson High School pool.
"You saw the level of the pool sink and the kid got sucked in," said Joanne Ruehl, a senior at the school who did not personally witness the accident.
During a Monday afternoon physical education class, an underwater viewing window shattered while students were in the pool. Water flushed into the adjoining room.
One young man could not get out in time. The gushing water sucked him through the window's fractured glass.
Superintendent Mike Swartz is proud of instructor Greg Fetherston, who pulled the struggling swimmer to safety. The teacher himself suffered minor cuts.
"Mr. Fetherston, our instructor, jumped in the water to go to the aid of the student. He, too, was pulled through the window," Swartz told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray. "He was in good spirits. He was concerned, as we all are, for our student."
While Fetherston was treated and released, the high school junior is said to have suffered far more severe injuries. A medical helicopter airlifted him to UW Hospital in Madison. Hospital staff said they had no information to release when asked for a condition report late Monday.
"I heard that there was a lot of cuts on face, mainly," Ruehl said.
The pool is closed to public access and Monday evening pool activities were cancelled, according to a sign on the high school main entrance. The water will be drained as administrators work to figure out why the glass shattered.
The pool was built in 1967, Swartz said. A new school and pool are under construction. A decision will have to be made on whether or not to repair the existing, damaged pool. The plan is to convert it to a gym after the new building is completed.
Jefferson Police Chief Gary Bleecker planned to comment and release more information Tuesday morning, a dispatcher said.